A New NEA Study Finds Americans Like Companionship With Their Arts-Going

Millions of Americans enjoy arts performances. That was evident from the number of performing arts centers built in the last decade, the boom in theater companies and the alarm when a symphony or dance group encounters financial distress.

But new data from the researchers at the National Endowment for the Arts dug a little deeper into those habits. Primarily, a good number of the 1.5 million Americans who go to arts performances on an given day bring someone along. Less than 7 percent go alone – 41 percent have a companion and 54 percent bring a family member. They usually spend 2.7 hours at the event.

The visits and spending are supporting a sizeable industry. Using numbers from a census report, the NEA described the performing arts industry as a robust one, using data collected in 2007 right before the economic downturn, with nearly 8, 840 organizations with 127, 648 paid workers, generating nearly $13.6 billion in annual revenues.

The report showed how tightly the nonprofit sector of the larger pool operates with $5.6 billion in revenue and $5.2 billion in expenses. Theater and opera companies are the biggest earners and spenders. In 2007 theaters, including dinner theaters and opera companies, employed the majority of the workers.

Source: Washington Post 

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